I spotted a Red Kite this afternoon in East Staffordshire

I was driving not too far from home today (East Staffordshire) and spotted this Red Kite soaring around near Draycott-in-the-Clay.

I managed to get this shot on my phone which clearly shows it distinctive forked tail.

I did get home,  grab a camera and return but the weather turned and a nasty blizzard came through. I didn’t manage to find it.

I will keep an eye open for it.   It’s great that these once almost extinct birds are starting to appear in more and more parts of the UK.

Red Kite in Staffordshire

A very short appearance by a Short Eared Owl this afternoon

I waited for an hour for one to take to appear, it did one lap of the field (unfortunately too far away from me) then landed in the long grass for 5 minutes before clearing off not to be seen again.

I did manage to get close enough to take a shot of it sitting in the grass.

{Click image for a higher resolution, click Flickr Link in caption to view photo on Flickr}
Short Eared Owl - D810, AF-S 500mm f/4 @ 500mm, f/5.6, ISO280, 1/400sec - {Flickr Link}

Early start in hope of Short Eared Owls

After a few failed attempts over the last few weeks, I got up before first light in hope to photograph a known location where Short Eared Owls have been showing well at first and last light.

Just as the sun started to rise above the tree line I wasn’t disappointed.

Whilst waiting, a Vole came scampering straight past where I was standing. I actually muttered something along the lines of “you’d better hide” and suddenly from the other side of the hedge I was backed-up against, a “Shortie” came swooping over. I’m not so sure who was more spooked, me, the Owl or the Vole. The Owl didn’t continue it’s swoop and the Vole survived being eaten.

The promise of clear skies wasn’t looking too great as a large thick cloud covered the sunrise. The Owl perched up in a tree, so I calmly walked towards it a few inches at a time. I got to about 20 metres and decided that was close enough. I quickly attached my 1.4x teleconverter to the 500mm and fired off a few shots.

{Click image for a higher resolution, click Flickr Link in caption to view photo on Flickr}

Short Eared Owl
Wide Eyed – D810, AF-S 500mm f/4 with TC-14III @ 700mm, f/8, ISO2000, 1/160sec – {Flickr Link}

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